A new installation at Edinburgh Castle, created by Edinburgh College of Art 2023 graduate Tanatsei Gambura, will take visitors on a sound walk through the historic site to map Scotland’s involvement in the creation of Zimbabwe’s streetscapes.

Nzira Yeparuware, which translates to ‘a path upon a rock’, runs until Thursday 30 November and was created by Zimbabwe-born artist Tanatsei Gambura (BA (Hons) Intermedia, 2023), in partnership with ECA’s Dr Kirsten Carter McKee, the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who manage Edinburgh Castle.

The project was developed from field recordings taken at a selection of sites in Harare in Zimbabwe which were named after streets in Scottish places including Aberdeen, Angus, Edinburgh, Fife, Jedburgh, Lanark, Midlothian, Orkney, Perth and more.

Tanatsei Gambura's installation at Edinburgh Castle
Image courtesy of Historic Scotland © Rob McDougall

"I'm thrilled to be exploring a history that is both personal and collective whilst using the tangible material of Scotland's vast geography and heritage."

Tanatsei Gambura

Historical timelines

As visitors explore Edinburgh Castle, they will discover signposts at 10 locations across the castle, which correspond to a soundscape that should be listened to at that location. The sound files can be accessed by visitor’s own devices through a QR code.

At each location, visitors will hear a different soundscape which explores the lasting impact and complexities of Scottish colonialism, the connection of the Zimbabwean capital to Scotland through street names, and the parallels and contrasts between Edinburgh and Harare’s historical timelines.

In addition to field recordings, the soundscapes will also feature improvised musical responses performed in Edinburgh by members of the Composer's Orchestra as well as spoken words by the artist. The sounds play together in simulation to offer the visitor a multi-dimensional sonic experience.

Artist Tanatsei Gambura, said: “Working on this project with such committed collaborators has been great artistic fuel. I'm thrilled to be exploring a history that is both personal and collective whilst using the tangible material of Scotland's vast geography and heritage. I hope people will take up this opportunity to listen and discover how our landscapes are speaking back to us, and what they are saying.”

This installation is part of Managing Imperial Legacies, which is a collaborative network partnership involving the University of Edinburgh, HES, and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER).

Dr Kirsten Carter McKee, Managing Imperial Legacies Research Manager at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Nzira Yeparuware beautifully intertwines creative expression with geographical and architectural histories, sparking engaging conversations that shed light on Scotland's history from a colonial perspective. Working alongside Tanatsei has been incredibly inspiring for the Managing Imperial Legacies Network, as her artistic vision strongly resonates with the Network's aim to ensure that anti-racist conversations are included as a part of Scotland's historic narratives.

“As a testament to the enduring creativity of this installation, the University of Edinburgh is also delighted to be purchasing this work as a permanent part of the University Art Collection, for future generations of creatives and researchers to experience beyond its tenure at Edinburgh Castle.”

Nzira Yeparuware was purchased by the University of Edinburgh in 2023 and on completion of the exhibition at Edinburgh Castle will join the Art Collection as part of the wider Heritage Collections.

The University has been engaged with the practices of commissioning, purchasing and displaying the work of artists for nearly 350 years. The Art Collection contains approximately 8,000 artworks spanning two millennia, and is displayed across the campus, loaned to other venues and used in support of research and teaching throughout the University.

Alison Turner, Director of External Relations and Partnerships at HES, said: “Nzira Yeparuware offers visitors an immersive sound experience by international artist, Tanatsei Gambura, which combines field recordings with improvised musical compositions to explore colonialism’s link with the environment, including Scotland’s influence on street names in Harare. It is important that we highlight these less-well known aspects of Scotland’s past and present, and we’re pleased to be able to host this important work within Edinburgh Castle, providing a very personal, immersive opportunity to explore the links and complexities of colonialism.”

Nzira Yeparuware runs from Saturday 1 September until Thursday 30 November and is included in the admission price to Edinburgh Castle. To book tickets visit the Edinburgh Castle website.

Associated events

19 October: Managing Imperial Legacies - Nzira Yeparuware

As part of Black History Month, join Harare-born artist Tanatsei Gambura, Historic Environment Scotland’s Equalities Manager Anila Mirza, and University of Edinburgh’s Dr Kirsten Carter McKee in a dynamic discussion on the Nzira Yeparuware installation at Edinburgh Castle.

This will explore the installation, its wider connections with Managing Imperial Legacies project, and its aims to bring anti-racist conversations to the forefront of reshaping historic narratives.

Thursday 19 October, 6pm

City Art Centre, Edinburgh

Find out more and book

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